Enterprise, Alabama—they’re laying Addy Kate to rest today. It’s a small service. Her father will say a few words before folks give final goodbyes.
Only a year ago, Enterprise High School’s math teacher and JV volleyball coach, Callie White, bought a pregnancy test on her way to school.
“I texted my husband the news,” says Callie. “We were so excited.”
Callie White’s pregnancy was your all-American birth. Baby showers, swollen feet, strange food cravings. She delivered a magnificent seven-pound-eleven-ounce Addy Kate.
Life couldn’t get any better. The young family was all smiles.
But smiles didn’t last. Doctors found a tumor in Addy’s brain. The disease was moving fast.
The young family traded in its baby toys for oncologists. The diagnosis was worse than bad. It was terminal.
The tumor had already spread through her brain. Doctors said there was nothing they could do.
“Last thing any mother wants to hear,” says Callie. “Is that there’s NOTHING she can do.”
The Whites did their best to keep living, but it was nearly impossible. Addy’s condition was behind every thought, word, and sentence.
On Easter Sunday, the Whites organized a family supper. There were Easter baskets, colored eggs. It was supposed to be a good day, but something was wrong with Addy.
They rushed her to the emergency room. Doctors did tests and found her tumor was growing. They said it wouldn’t be long before she passed.
What an Easter.
One of the first things the Whites did was hire a photographer.
“We wanted photos,” says Callie. “We didn’t have pictures of the three of us yet.”
A photographer snapped the first and only family photos the Whites have together. And while they posed, the family enjoyed one of their only half-normal afternoons together.
It was short-lived.
Last week, Addy’s family took turns holding her with hospice nurses on call. They rocked her in their arms. They gave her morphine to make her comfortable. They prayed.
At 8:25 A.M., Addy’s chest stopped moving. The family cried. So did an entire community.
A community that’s been rooting for her. Since Addy’s diagnosis, there have been donations, free hospital flights, cake deliveries, custom T-shirts, casseroles, sympathy cards, fundraisers, and enough prayers to smother out the moon.
Enterprise High School started a scholarship fund with Addy’s name on it. And on Friday, schools like Dale County, Goshen, Enterprise, Houston Academy, and Dothan High wore gray in honor of Addy Kate.
There were collection jars at local softball games. Group prayers. People chanting Addy’s name.
“We’ve been amazed,” says Callie. “At how our community has reached out to us.”
This morning, a small service will be held. It won’t be much, but handfuls of South Alabamians will pay respects to a baby they never got to know.
Addy Kate will get the best send-off the Wiregrass region can muster. Not because she was beautiful. Not because she was three months old.
But because she was one of us.
And by God, she will be missed.
Barbara - May 6, 2017 2:17 pm
Beautifully written account of a beautiful little life. I really like your work. God bless Daddy’s family.
Mary Beard - July 1, 2017 1:18 am
Well written article. Prayers for peace and comfort for the family and the community.
Gayle Dawkins - May 6, 2017 2:18 pm
I pray that this sweet baby’s family finds peace. My heart hurts for them.
Bobbie - May 6, 2017 2:31 pm
So missed…so loved!
Donald Haynes - May 6, 2017 3:17 pm
Prayers for this precious family. There are no words adequate to share at this time. From one greiving family to another, may God’s peace which surpasses all understanding comfort you.
Sandy Park - May 6, 2017 4:05 pm
It’s so hard to grip the understanding of a child dying before it even has a chance to live…. only God knows why Addy’s sweet life came to such a quick end. I pray for comfort and peace on the family and friends of His newest angel, Addy Kate.
LISPACA - May 6, 2017 4:40 pm
Janne Swearengen - May 6, 2017 4:49 pm
Really BAD things happen to really GOOD people. While we cannot pretend to understand why, we can thank you for sharing this with us so we ar a united family who will celebrate this child, her family and all those who stood strong to support, care, give and eventually grieve.
Gloria - May 6, 2017 5:26 pm
Prayers for Addy’s family
Linda Trammell - May 6, 2017 9:45 pm
I began reading your thoughts about a month ago. Thank you – you have gotten me through a despair this “positive personality” thought she would never encounter. HOPE is the name of it and it has nothing (who am I kidding) to do with politics or the state of the union, or man’s inhumanity to man. It has everything to do with decent people. You seek them out & report – I deviour. I was raised on the “taste” that there is the best in the worse of us, etc. And judging is left to a higher prospective. You serve up a balanced meal & a steady diet has helped me digest the rest!!
Greta Callie Eagerton - May 7, 2017 3:50 pm
Sweet, beautiful, comforting words for sweet baby Addy Kate’s parents and family..Thankful for the love poured out on the White family..GOD will be your strength..
Jeannie - May 7, 2017 6:52 pm
Prayers for this sweet baby’s family. How wonderful that they had the prayers and support of their community. May they be wrapped in God’s blanket of PEACE
gerald dowling - May 8, 2017 2:16 pm
Addy Kate’s name appeared suddenly on our church’s prayer list. It happens frequently, I was unaware of who this was, but prayed her name with sincerity. For several Sundays the sound of her little name tinkled in my ears. Then just as quickly as her name had come it was gone. It was clear God had taken her home. I am thankful for the comments written here because now I have been introduced to Addy Kate in your memories, and not just a name on a prayer list.
Anne Trawick - May 12, 2017 6:11 am
One of the things I love about the South is seeing it through your eyes.
Michael Bishop - May 16, 2017 1:02 pm
Instruments, we’re all instruments of God’s peace, and when we’re not, we’re virtually useless to everybody, including ourselves. Sometimes, when we hurt, we lay ourselves aside, but often, in those times, others apply their instrumentality on our behalf, and that’s how grace operates and how we survive the sequential surgeries that life performs on us, via the instrumentalities of human decency and God’s grace.
Allyson - May 27, 2017 12:29 am
Thank you for the portrait painted in this post. It moved me to tears because in many ways it mirrors what my family dealt with about the same time this yeah. You truly have a way with words.
Deanna J - June 29, 2017 12:20 pm
Praying for her family’s peace! Thank you!
Sylvia Williams - June 29, 2017 12:24 pm
“Enough prayers to smother out the moon”…while written. You made readers feel like we knew Addy Kate.
Sylvia Williams - June 29, 2017 12:27 pm
Well written, making readers feel like we knew Addy Kate too. Enough prayers to smother out the moon, is one I will remember. RIP Addy Kate!
Tom Cole - June 29, 2017 5:13 pm
I have learned that many hospital neo-natal units provide a service to parents who lose a baby. They have a photographer take pictures of the child if parents wish at no charge. Contact the Nurse Supervisor sat the hospital for more information…
Greg Glass - July 2, 2017 10:57 pm
The constellations , Milky Way included, will probably shine a little brighter, little Addy is looking down. , team Earth has lost a great little player